Image: Charlie Sperring
by Jan-Hendrik Botha
The dapper and charming chef Katlego Mlambo joined us as guest chef in the sixteenth episode of MasterChef SA and what a delight it was to welcome him.
From The Marabi Club, Johannesburg, chef Katlego is a very talented chef using humble ingredients he grew up with and transforming them into something beautiful.
Twitter, of course, fell head over heels in love with this cool and funky chef.
From the moment he entered the kitchen…
…while he was describing his love for his gogo…
…to the moment he left.
Twitter just couldn’t get enough…
…and we were living for it, one tweet after the other.
Chef Katlego took us back to our childhoods and for this 90-minute pressure challenge, we paid homage to all the South African gogos who cook with love. On the menu: warm and comforting food reminding us of Sunday’s seven colours at gogo’s house.
Katlego's granny, gogs Betty the Beast as he likes to refer to her, was on the agenda. His brief to the three competing contestants was to reinvent the humble pap, lamb chops and stew, a simple home-cooked meal, into something worthy of being served at a fine dining restaurant.
Getting started, Katlego said that Charmaine seemed like a silent assassin behind her station and Twitter noticed it too.
"I’ve been struggling to find my flavours since I got here and was hoping to find it today. But [I also want] to fine dine it because I sometimes miss the point,” she said to the judges.
According to her, the pressure of being in the MasterChef SA kitchen and cooking in such a short time and not being in her kitchen is taking its toll at this point in the game. But family is very important to Charmaine, and the reason that she’s still in the MasterChef SA kitchen, she explained. For her dish, she took an old fashioned approach, working on a spicy sauce inspired by curry.
Tembisa seemed focused and in the mood for a glass of wine. Of course, seeing that it was an elimination challenge, she was also nervous but decided to take things easy. “I decided if I’m cooking and thinking of my grandmother, it needs to be happy,” she said while reminiscing about her gogo, mams Nomsa.
They say a watched pot never boils, but at Tembisa’s station, her pot was filling the room with the smell of love and flavours of nostalgia. According to her, mans Nomsa’s food brought them together as a family. Unfortunately, she realised her stew was burnt, but luckily she salvaged the situation and quickly cooked another batch. “My grandma [told] me: ‘Tembisa, don’t ever leave the pot on the stove.' But I’ve been breaking that rule since day one."
When the pressure is on, it seems best to just sing: this was the case at Dr Harri’s station.
Humming a tune of Mariah Carey's, Dr Harri was cooking up a storm.
And while he was telling the judges about his grandmother, who sadly passed away in 2019, his pressure cooker interrupted them, making all kinds of noises, and we thought that his grandma was trying to tell him something about the dhal in his pressure cooker. All of a sudden his pressure cooker started spitting out hot water and not only did the gantry gasp, but Twitter felt uneasy too. Suddenly it reached a point where it started overflowing...and we were watching in a state of shock while he was waiting for it to cool down.
But luckily once it cooled off, he was able to open it up and found a perfectly cooked batch of dhal.
When it came to judging, it was the battle of the sauces.
The judges felt that Tembisa’s lamb chops, samp and been tabbouleh were elegantly plated giving a traditional dish a very modern feel. Though they felt that the chops were perfectly cooked and loved the flavours of the samp, her sauce let her down – according to the judges, too greasy.
Dr Harri’s masala seared chops served with curry sauce, and dhal and rice arancini balls fascinated the judges and they were excited to dig in, but when it came to tasting they found that his sauce was burnt and had no flavour, with an overpowering spiciness to it. According to Zola, a complete disaster.
Tasting Charmaine’s rack of lamb, vegetables, and curry sauce, the judges were particularly impressed with the lamb but also felt that her sauce was a let-down. According to them, the spices in her sauce seemed undercooked, and there was no definite flavour to it.
But though he was a source of joy, Dr Harri’s sauce, unfortunately, took him out of the game, and he was the fourteenth person to leave the MasterChef SA kitchen.
Find out what he has to say about his MasterChef SA journey below:
Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with the hashtag #MasterChefSA. Remember to watch MasterChef SA every Monday to Thursday at 18:00 on M-Net channel 101. In case you missed the latest episode, catch up with DStv using your connected device.